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Sentencing for 'friend' of Dylann Roof set for March 21

Joey Meek (File)

A new sentencing date has been set for the man prosecutors describe as the friend of Dylann Roof who failed to notify law enforcement of the church gunman's plans.

Court records indicated Tuesday Joey Meek's sentencing will begin at 10 a.m. on March 21, 2017. Federal Judge Richard M. Gergel will preside over Meek's sentencing.

On Monday Judge Gergel denied a motion to increase the punishment Meek could get under federal sentencing guidelines. Federal prosecutors argued Meek should get more than maximum sentence because of the “horrific nature” of the crime.

Prior to government prosecutors filing the motion to increase punishment possible for Meek, his own attorney filed a request asking the man described as the friend of Dylann Roof be admitted to the state's Turning Leaf program. The nearly 100-page filing explains Meek's long-standing battle with mental health issues and notes a childhood filled with domestic violence, instability, and drug abuse.

In the order signed Monday, Gergel said Meek’s failure to report beforehand was tragic and regrettable but not a violation of federal criminal law. The judge also said prosecutors can ask for an upward variance on the day of sentencing based on Meek’s actions *after* the crime was committed.

Meek has already pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony and making a false statement to a law enforcement officer.

His crimes carry with them a maximum 8-year sentence, but prosecutors had offered a lesser sentence if he cooperated in the case against Roof. However, Meek was never called as a witness in the federal trial that wrapped up in January.

Roof was sentenced to death for the Emanuel AME shooting that left nine people dead.

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